I’m going to start off with a little confession this week… I actually created this recipe and photographed it about three months ago. It’s been sitting all pretty and ready to be shared, but it hasn’t been until know, that the time has been right. You see, I’ve been on a journey over these past months. Not so much literally, (though I wish I had!). It’s more of a personal and professional development journey.
Sometimes life just seem to take you on a trip of change regardless of whether you want it or not, so when you actually have the chance to decide yourself that you are ready to explore, open up and expand, it just makes the experience all the sweeter! Every now and then you go places or meet people who become catalysts for change and steer your path in a slightly different direction, or perhaps bring you back to the road you where always meant to travel…
Back in April, I met one of those people, Dr Deanna Minich. When I heard Dr Minich speak at our AGM for Nutritional Therapists in Dublin in the middle of April this year, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, here is someone who has already integrated health and healing through food and eating into a tangible concept!” Something I’ve intuitively been looking for, but not being sure how to fit the jigsaw together.
One part of Nutritional Therapy that have always felt right to me, is the way we tend to treat the person as a whole. We are the sum of all the parts and they are interconnected. An imbalance in one system will have an effect on another one. Work with one system and you will see a ripple effect in another area. It is inevitable.
Those of you that know me, have worked with me already, or been following along here for awhile now, knows that I don’t advocate any particular type of diet (other than fresh wholesome unprocessed foods), that I believe that we need to get better at listening to our own bodies to find out what is truly best for us, and that I absolutely loath calorie counting!
To me eating should be free of guilt, blame and shame and a truly nourishing experience on every level. So you can imagine my excitement when I meet someone who had already integrated this way of thinking into one colourful concept! All I knew back in April was that this is where I need to go next! So following my heart and my gut off I went and enrolled in Dr Minich’s Food & Spirit Certified Practitioner Programme™. This is probably one of the best thing I’ve done since I decided to study Nutritional Therapy several years ago. (Take home message to all of us – if something feels really right in your heart, go with it. Don’t let any fears or worries stand in your way. Trust and go forth.)
So what is Food & Spirit™ exactly? What does it mean for my own practice and skills to have added this certified training to my tool kit?
Food & Spirit™ is an all encompassing self-healing modality, marrying physiology and psychology with food and eating through the 7 Aspects of Self. Still none the wiser? Ok, let me try again. Basically what Dr Minich has done, through years of clinical research, clinical practice and whilst simultaneously studying ancient healing traditions, is to recognise a pattern of how everything seems to be interconnected through these 7 aspects of self. These Aspects are connected to different areas in our body, both physically through various hormone glands and organs, but also symbolically through energy centres (chakras) recognised in ancient healing traditions. Finally each of these 7 Aspects are also connected to how we live, how we eat and how we connect with life itself.
Through using the lens of this concept we can look at imbalances within these areas of self, (which may manifest as disease, dis-ease, or simply not feeling our best), in a wider context. We can look at the area(s) / aspect(s) that are out of balance and use this as a starting point for how to apply changes to our lifestyle, how we eat and what we eat.
The 7 Aspects of Self are:
The Root – Who we are, our foundation, our genetic make up and our ability to survive in the physical world.
The Flow – How we feel, our ability to express our emotions, our creativity
The Fire – Our innate sense of ego, our place of transformation and personal empowerment
The Love – How we give and receive love from others, how we nourish our dreams and passions
The Truth – How we speak what’s on our minds and in our hearths, our vulnerability and authenticity
The Insight – Our innate wisdom, our knowledge gathered from experience and our inherent intuition
The Spirit– Our purpose and our connection with all of life.
Journeying through each different Aspect, looking at how we live, how we integrate with the environment, but most of all how we engage with the food on the plate becomes a beautiful journey of self-discover through food, eating and living. It can become a transformational journey from fullness to wholeness.
When we stop and think, not only about what we eat, but how we interact with the food on our plate, doors of self-realisation and self-awareness opens. Opportunities to change, and opportunities to simply choose a different approach or path presents itself.
I believe that when we make food choices from a place of love and care for ourselves, we will chose differently. Making healthier choices becomes the natural way forward and much of the overwhelm, confusion, guilt and shame evaporates. It’s simple really, however getting there may not be all that easy… Though the challenges are all part of the experience too!
The other part of Food & Spirit™ is marrying the actual colourful foods with each aspect, or as I’ve done here using one food from each colour of the rainbow to create a full spectrum dish with nourishing health promoting phytonutrients!
Cauliflower Pizzahas become all the rage of lately and whether you are avoiding gluten or not, it makes a nice way to consume this health promoting vegetable. Lots of people don’t like cauliflower, mostly because it’s always served overcooked. I think is far too under-utilised. It is cheap and actually very versatile! On top of that being part of the cruciferous vegetable family (same as broccoli, bok choy, kale, Brussels sprouts) it is anti inflammatory, has cancer protective properties and supports heart health.
So feed your LOVE and all the other aspects of yourself with this colourful Rainbow Pizza!
1 medium size of cauliflower
a handful of rainbow chard or spinach
1/2 cup of gram flour (chickpea flour)
2 eggs, lightly whisked – free range organic if possible
some fresh herbs like sage / rosemary / oregano, chopped – optional
1 aubergine / eggplant, chopped into squares
1 red onion, peeled & thinly sliced
2 red or orange peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 tube of tomato paste
150 g feta cheese
a little olive oil for roasting the vegetables
sea salt & black pepper, to season
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Chop the onion, pepper and aubergine. Place them on an oven proof tray, drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the tray in the preheated oven and roast for about 20 min or until nice and soft.
In the meantime, break the head of cauliflower up into pieces and place in a food processor together with the chard / spinach. Blend until you have a consistency that resembles couscous.
Take the “cauli couscous” out of the food processor and place in a bowl. Add in the whisked egg and the gram flour and mix with your hands until you have a kind of sticky “dough”. Place the dough on a lined baking tray and gently form a pizza base with the use of your hands. Once you are happy with your base, place it in the oven and let it cook for 20 min, to set. Your roasted vegetables may be ready at this stage so take them out before cooking the base and let them rest for awhile.
Once you base is set, remove it from the oven. Evenly smear the tomato paste on to your base, then add the roasted veg and finally scatter some feta cheese over the lot. You can of course use any cheese you like or omit it altogether, if you wish. I just happen to love feta on my pizza.
Bake the pizza in the oven for a further 10-15 min or until the cheese is lightly golden, but not burnt.
Serve your Rainbow Pizza with some extra greens and a loving intention. Proceed to experience love from the inside out <3
The concept of Food & Spirit is deeply nourishing and transformative. It offers a way to look at all these different areas of ourselves and to become much more aware of how the food we eat makes us feel, but also how our way living affects our current health and what changes we may need to do in order to bring ourselves back into balance so we can live life in full colour!
Food and eating has served me personally, as a path to personal growth. It has become a way of being more creative and open up new avenues and places of explorations. When we go beyond the basics of nutrition (calories, macro nutrients, measuring, counting etc.) we can begin to craft a healthy relationship with food and our bodies and in a sense find our way back to who we truly are.
In my Online Programme; Happy Healthy Me, we are already working on transforming our relationship with food and bringing awareness to not only what we are eating but also Why and How.
If you want to know more about this approach to breaking free from dieting madness and instead begin the journey to food freedom, body peace and a way to nourish yourself in ways that feel good to YOU,then this programme is for you!
While we are patiently waiting for Summer to arrive, I though I would share this warming and nourishing superfood porridge with you all. This simple yet delicious breakfast has kept me going for the past couple of months as my go-to morning ritual. Whilst I was hoping to transition into a more raw-food based start to the day, it will have to wait until it get’s a little warmer…
Are you like me, craving warmer, spicier food when it’s cold? And as soon as it’s warm, looking for some raw cooling foods instead? Even though I like smoothies all year round, for me they are more an exception to the rule. You won’t find me guzzling on large bowls of raw veggies during the autumn and winter months, unless I also have some cooked, warm food accompanying the plate. Cold food in cold weather makes me feel even colder. Funny how in tune we can become uh?
Have you ever noted how warming spices like, cloves, cardamom and chilli lends themselves to winter dishes? And in the summer it is more naturally to add and eat crispy salads, fresh fruit and raw veggie sticks?
I’m going to give you my “cold weather version” of this superfood porridge, but I have also included some topping ideas to give you some more “summer friendly” ideas for when it eventually arrives!
I firmly believe porridge is THE most popular breakfast in Ireland. Perhaps elsewhere too… Porridge (or Oatmeal) is such a great way to enjoy true whole grains. You know that it hasn’t had all that much tampering with as it still looks pretty much the same as it does when growing in the field. However it’s debatable if some other breakfast cereals can truly call themselves, whole grains upon closer inspection…
If you can tolerate oats then porridge is a nice healthy way to start the day. *Note that oats are the only cereal grain, which is gluten free. The problem is cross contamination from other cereal grains. If you are highly gluten sensitive, yet can handle oat, take care to by certified gluten free oats.*
Before I started to add some coconut oil or coconut milk to my porridge I used to find it would keep me going for about 2h and then I would end up seriously ravenous! For most people though, porridge is one of the best ways to keep any cravings at bay and energy on an even keel right up till lunch time. To make this breakfast an even more slow-releasing carbohydrate breakfast, I have paired it with full fat coconut milk, plus some seeds. You will get all the sweetness you need from the dried berries, so hold off on the sugar.
Serves 1 (Double the amounts if making for more)
1/2 cup rolled oats or pinhead oatmeal
1 cup cold water
2 tbsp full fat coconut milk – Chose a brand which is as pure as possible without any fillers & binders
1 tbsp raw or toasted pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp raw or toasted sunflower seeds
1 tbsp golden raisins – or use normal ones
1 tbsp dried Inca berries – Also called physallis
1/2 tbsp cacao nibs
Place oats and water in a small saucepan. Gently bring to boil while stirring. Cook for about 10 min until you have a thick porridge. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the coconut milk.
Serve in a bowl with all the superfood toppings!
Fresh hulled, chopped strawberries with 1/2 tbsp of bee pollen
Sliced nectarine with chopped pecan nuts
Stoned and halved cherries with a tbsp almond butter.
Looking for more oatmeal / porridge inspiration? Check out these fabulous bloggers too 🙂
So it’s a New Year! Exciting? Yes! Isn’t every day we wake up a new beginning and with new possibilities to create something different, though? Or an opportunity to simply carry on as we are? It’s just that this time of the year the end of the old and the possibilities of the new is more apparent, with all the ceremonies and celebrations and other shenanigans on the 31st of Dec.
At an estimated guess, I would say some of the most blogged about topics in the month of January is: how to set great New Years resolutions for the year ahead or probably detoxing! Detoxing is a big topic really, WHEN you expolore beyond sensational headlines AND if you want to do it in a safe way. Of course it is also something our bodies do every day. If our liver and kidneys stop working, we are in serious trouble. That said, taking good care of ourselves and limit the amount of burden we place on those vital organs, is always a good idea. Limiting or cutting out cigarettes and alcohol is a pretty good place to start… But here, this post wasn’t suppose to be about Detoxing!
So on to the real subject matter of this post; Goals or dreams or wishes or intentions or what ever you wish to call your New Years resolutions this year, that’s what I intended to write about. A quick check in the Thesaurus shows a couple of suitable synonyms for the world RESOLUTION. Words, with quiet widespread meanings, like; decision, courage, declaration, intent, willpower, perseverance and tenacity are all synonyms for resolution. Perhaps the main ones which properly describes the true meaning of the word is DETERMINATION and STRONG WILLED. Usually it’s those last two words which determines the type of New Years resolutions we set, why we work so hard to achieve them and why we sometimes fail at it anyway. Somehow though, after a few week, perseverance always seems to have been left out in the cold…
The opposite or resolution is laziness, indecisiveness and fear. All those things which can easily stop us from setting the goals and intentions we really want or achieve the things we are really dreaming of. Indecisiveness often comes from lack of clarity. Sometimes working on finding that clarity is the very first step to take if you wish to change.
Ok, so we may be in the middle of January already, and you may already have set your goals for the year and may be well on your away to achieving them already. Or you may still be in struggling finding some clarity in what you truly want to focus on this year. Just before the end of the year I came across an amazing tool, which can help SO MUCH with the clarity aspect of setting intentions and goals for the year ahead, which are truly aligned with your core desires. You can download the brilliant printout to get clarity on your dreams and desires over here
So have you thought about your dreams, wishes and intentions for 2015? Sometimes we set lofty goals of “getting fit & healthy”. These are great end results. Or even more so the results of a process. But that’s just it. Taking the first steps on the journey of getting fit and healthy will require some specific action steps. So put these action steps down on your plan. Getting fit(er) will probably require some added form of movement in your daily life. Again make it realistic and make it a process that you can build on gradually. If you are currently spending most evenings on the couch in front of the TV, signing up for some crazy Cross-Fit challenges may be a little too far outside your comfort zone. That said, do sign up to something that require you to stretch a little (I’m not necessarily talking about Yoga here). Do something that is a little challenging to where you are right now. But if you want to be able to stick to it longterm, make sure you choose something which also brings joy into your life. We are meant to have fun!
If you are already fit and active, set a higher goal. Again, think about what would stretch you outside that famous comfort zone. Set a goal that feels ambitious and a little scary. Something that you would like to do or achieve but are not 100% fully sure you’d be able for, yet not so far outside your abilities that you are setting yourself up for a failure. Achieving something you hardly ever thought possible is just an amazing feeling and a huge part of personal growth and development.
It’s the same with eating healthy really. Doing massive overhauls on our lifestyles is tough and to be honest those dramatic changes usually only come about as a result of circumstances well outside our control. I would argue that when we are in control of making changes to our life ourselves, it is a lot smarter to do it in small bits. As a process. Check in with yourself to see where you are at. What part of your food habits need to change? Is it the quality of the food you eat? Is it your relationship with it? Or do you simply need to take the time to learn a couple of new recipes to increase the variation of food you eat? Get some clarity on what it is you want to change and why, then proceed to write down what action steps you need to take to make it happen. And then Just Do It! In the end of the day, JUST thinking about your goals won’t make a blind bit of difference (even though it is a fundamental part of the process). At some point you will HAVE TO TAKE ACTION, if you want to make a change. Or if you desire something different from what you currently have.
One of my favourite quotes are “No Change, No Change”. Ponder that. Don’t let your past hold you back either. Simply chose again.
As well as planning and focusing on all the things we want to achieve in the months (and years!) ahead it is equally as important to stop and reflect over what we have actually done and achieved in the past 12 months. I find sometimes, that by doing that, it can take the sting out of any overwhelm, fear or doubts that creep in from time to time. It’s all to easy to keep moving the goalpost so quickly that it feels like we are not getting anywhere or that we are not making any progress and then we allow those doubts and fears to consume us and as a result give up. Don’t do that! Instead make a list of all the positive things that you have achieved in 2014. Even if it turned out to be a tough year, full of adversities, still if you are reading this then chances are you are at least alive. Remind yourself that you are good enough. You are worthy of success (in all areas of your life) and you are beautiful right here and right now.
For me personally, 2014 was a crazy year. In a positive way. Yet pretty exhausting with all the pushing and stretching outside my comfort zone. Until some of it became like a new normal. I certainly faced some fears and proceeded to do it anyway. Eventually though, it all took its toll and taking a complete break between Christmas and New Year was so necessary. It seems to have done wonders 🙂
This year I’ve decided to do less with more focus. Rather than trying to juggling 10 project at the time I’m going to focus on doing one (or perhaps two… Or maybe three…) at the time. I simply feel I will be so much more productive that way. Focus on just the one thing at the time is a pretty big challenge for me, who gets both distracted and bored quiet easily. So I’m hoping now that I’ve put out it out there, I’ll be more likely to hold myself accountable!
As for the blog, I’m hoping it will grow in 2015. As always a big thank you to all of you who do read my ramblings already. It means alot. I’ve decided to throw in a non-recipe blog post about once a month about something health related or about mindset or what ever might surface. I have also decided that this year I will cook more from the beautiful cookbooks I already have, even though I am fairly certain there will be more additions to my collection. I can think of about three titles already, which I’m keen to get! So I will be sharing some new favourites from the treasures of my bookshelves this year. So well, that should keep the blogging going pretty well. I will of course also share some of my own ideas and recipes, too many of them in my head already. And hopefully there will be opportunities to do some guest blog swaps too throughout the year so, please come back again for a visit 🙂
What are your dreams / visions / goals / intentions from 2015? If you feel like sharing helps you stay aligned and accountable, I would love to hear all about your aspirations. Perhaps we can all check back in by Dec 31st to see how it went?
Are you part of the Green Smoothie Club? If smoothies are a very recent addition to your daily menu, making it a green one may still feel a little daunting. Or if having liquidized greens still seems a little ‘too out there’ for you, yet you are curious about trying out one – then this recipe is for you.
The Green Smoothie for Beginners is the first part in my upcoming smoothie series. I have a couple more refreshing raw drinks in the pipeline for you while the season is still primed for indulging in raw foods. Smoothies, particularly green ones is such a simple step to increase the amount of raw food in your daily diet, and your intake of vegetables over all.
I don’t own a fancy blender like a Nutri-bullet or a Vitamix (I wish I did though…). The basic blender I had, which had a good glass jug I broke by putting something too hot in it. Kitchen mishaps… So these days I’m back to using my trusted hand blender (actually I wore one out and had to replace it as I couldn’t do with out!) I’m not one for (too many) fancy kitchen gadgets but my hand blender is one gadget I certainly couldn’t live without. I’ve even taken it on holiday with me. How sad it that?
Ever since I broke my blender jug, green smoothies has been off my menu, as I believed my little hand blender would not be strong enough to blend the green leaves. The key to a really good green smoothie is to make sure that the leaves are really well chopped up. You simply won’t have that fabulous of an experience if you have to chomp through chunks of leaves. I mean, it’s called smoothie for a reason. Right? Anyhow, we have been getting some great fresh produce here lately which included both spinach and the utterly beautiful rainbow chard. So I though, let’s put the hand blender to the test and see if it is possible to make some kind of green smooth(ie) goodness with it.
Success! Here you are. My basic green smoothie recipe for beginners, using only a hand blender. No excuses now, not to try out these greenies.
Most of the smoothies I make includes two of my favourite ingredients, banana and avocado. Both of them add a lovely creaminess to any smoothie and the healthy fat from the avocado helps to counteract any possible blood sugar spike from the fruit. Having smoothies as oppose to juices means you will get all the fibre from the fresh produce too.
Green Smoothie For Beginners
1/2 an avocado
1 small banana or 1/2 of a big one, peeled & chopped
a fist of soft green mild-tasting leaves, like chard or spinach – washed
1 kiwi, peeled & roughly chopped
a squeeze of lime – optional
200ml of filtered water or plant milk of choice
Scoop out the flesh of the avocado and add together with the rest of the ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth. Pour your smoothie into a glass. Top with some Chia seeds, bee pollen or any other fancy super food you can think of. Or do what I do when not styling for a photo shoot – have it straight from the container…
Congrats! You are now well on your way to a healthier, more wholesome lifestyle. Don’t worry if your tastebuds protest a little at first. Practice makes perfect.
Finally Summer has arrived in Ireland! Yay! We’ve been a long time waiting for this and now we have finally have some real heat and sunshine to enjoy. Trust me, when you live in a country where blue skies and temperatures in the 20s are a rarity, you savour every single minute of it you get! The thing is, feeling positive, happy and content is so much easier when the sun is out. Perhaps it has to do with the increase of Vitamin D from the sun? Some recent studies seems to suggest so. This post on the Huff Post refers to a recent study where improvement in symptoms of depression where linked to an increase in Vitamin D. Even though we can take Vitamin D supplements, the best source is the one which is synthesized naturally by our skin. So if the sun is shining where ever you are right now, get out there!
Another great thing about warmer temperatures is that it feels more natural to increase the intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. Of course it does, this is the season of abundant fresh green leaves, bright berries and edible flowers! If you are thinking of taking your healthy eating habits to the next level, now is your chance. Perhaps you are even growing a few things in your garden already? Raw fruits and vegetables are bursting with nutrition and health benefits and they are naturally low in calories. This basically means you get more bang for your buck.
I often feel people have this idea that a salad is something you eat when you are on a diet. It is often a sad, uninspiring kind of affair, which you eat purely because “you are being good” and on “a diet”. To top it off, it is probably a pretty small portion too, so an hour later that ice cream you where trying to restrain your self from having earlier is now just irresistible…
This way of thinking makes me so sad, because when you view salads like this you are missing out some fantastic opportunities to do something amazing for your body. Making a salad full of life giving components is actually a great way to reward your body with goodness, so it can keep doing all the things you want it to do. Often if we have spent a long time dieting we can be stuck in what I call “the Dieting Mindset”, where eating healthy foods, some how is seen as “being good” and eating processed foods seen as “being bad”. How about a mindset shift? What if eating nourishing, colourful, fresh foods, from nature is instead viewed as “doing good”? All of a sudden you are treating your body with things which is doing good, making you feel good. No punishment in sight. Makes sense? You know that fussy, warm happy feeling we get when we do something nice for others? Rewarding ourselves with good food is kinda the same thing. So go on, do something good for your body today. And celebrate that summer is here at the same time 🙂
This salad is super simple and I didn’t even bother with a proper salad dressing. It’s a kinda assembly meal and the key to make it taste really good is to use the best and freshest ingredients you can find.
Celebration of Summer Salad
Serves 1 hungry person or 2 people as a side
1 cup mixed green salad leaves, washed
6-7 strawberries, washed, hulled & halved
1 pear, washed & sliced
50g feta cheese (because everything just tastes better with feta!)
10 walnuts, roughly chopped
a handful of sprouted mungbeans – optional
some sage flowers – alternatively add a few fresh leaves of sage, finely chopped &/or other types of edible flowers for an extra kick of colour
a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Place the leaves in a large bowl. Scatter some balsamic vinegar over the leaves to taste. Add in your pear and strawberries. Scatter the mungbean sprouts, walnuts, flowers and crumble the feta over the whole lot. Serve immediately.
* I’ve also made this salad using a ripe peach instead of the pear and switching the walnuts for pecan nuts. It was almost nicer…*